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House of Commons Hansard #152 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week we were served up some pretty good demonstrations of Conservative-style transparency. The Minister of Labour and the Minister of Transport covered up their travel expenses, and we heard about purchases of tanks on the sly, the systematic obstruction of a committee, and the failure to disclose partisan government polls. In short, the lack of transparency was at its height.

Will this government, which ran its last election campaign under the banner of accountability, admit that there is a significant gap between its talk about transparency and the reality?

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, that is not true. The truth of the matter is that all expenses of Conservative government ministers have been posted on the ministers' and departments' web sites. Everything is there.

The gap that exists is the gap between the spending by previous Liberal ministers and the spending by Conservative ministers which is usually a very large gap, and guess what? It was the Liberals who spent more.

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are demonstrating that transparency and accountability are but passing values and last only as long as an election campaign.

Will the government acknowledge that its transparency agenda has fallen by the wayside, that it is a total failure and that its approach is no different than that of the Liberals?

Ministerial ExpensesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, we are truly proud of the accountability act. It is the most rigorous legislation of this type passed by any government in the history of Canada.

Never before has there been a government willing to take an initiative and bring forward a law so dramatic on accountability, and it is working. It is working because the public can see what happens and we have an unprecedented level of accountability. It also works because when Conservatives are in charge, taxpayers' dollars are taken care of much more carefully.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the 2004 election campaign, the then leader of the opposition said that a Conservative government would offer Canadians relief from the high prices of gasoline by removing the so-called tax on tax and by not charging the GST on gasoline over 85¢ per litre.

He also said that revenues generated on high prices of gasoline were “revenues that no one foresaw even a few months ago”, and that a Conservative government would only be “depriving Ottawa of a massive windfall it did not count on and that it did not need”.

Will the Prime Minister finally honour his promise on gasoline now that it has been well over a year and gasoline is well over $1 a litre, or will he admit that this is just another promise that looks a whole lot like old-fashioned Conservative electioneering?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the member was when we had the budget because the budget cut the GST on gasoline far more than that earlier promise that the Conservatives made. We went above and beyond and cut taxes even more.

It is different from what the Liberals would do. For example, the Liberal leader, when he was the environment minister, was quoted in the Calgary Herald as saying, “High gas prices are actually good for Canada in the medium and long term”. In August 2005, in the Montreal Gazette, the Liberal leader pointed out, “High gas prices are not necessarily a bad thing”.

We see their secret plan at work now with their plan to raise gas prices 60%. That is--

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The hon. member for Pickering—Scarborough East.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will give the hon. member a bit of math. What he is talking about is a savings that was lost in these increases of 1¢ a litre. What he forgot to tell Canadians is that the Conservatives are ripping them off by 3.2¢ a litre based on a promise that they made.

Will the Prime Minister finally keep his promise? Will he finally level with Canadians and tell them that his government will do nothing to limit the huge amounts of money that the government and oil companies are taking out of the pockets of Canadians, as requested today by the Quebec minister of natural resources?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am always amused when the Liberals ask people to keep promises on the GST. They were the ones, that member himself, who campaigned on a commitment to eliminate the GST and, guess what? It is still there.

However, somebody did keep the promise on the GST. It was the Prime Minister and this Conservative government who committed to cut the GST by 1%, including on gasoline, a deeper cut than our previous commitments on tax cutting.

It is very different from the Liberals' plan. Their deputy leader, the member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore, admitted that his plan would mean some Canadians might need to pay more at the pumps. That was reported in the National Post in August.

In unveiling his policy, he said, “Federal taxes on transportation fuels should be restructured to be heavier on--”

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The hon. member Ajax—Pickering.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

May 11th, 2007 / 11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative home retrofit program is being revealed as ecofraud. Wednesday in committee the deputy minister of Natural Resources admitted the truth.

After the minister attempted to lump figures together and skew numbers, his deputy revealed that the government had cut $152 million per year from what the Liberal EnerGuide program had provided, leaving only $37 million for housing retrofits.

The government's attempt to mislead, confuse and outright deceive Canadians goes too far. When will the minister put back the $152 million he axed and stop misleading Canadians?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, mislead, confused, deceived sounds like the Liberal Party playbook to me and it is the playbook of that member who just spoke.

We are sitting here today talking about wanting lower gas prices and yet the member for Ajax—Pickering, back in September 2005, when gas prices were going up, said, “We need to see the silver lining in this rather painful situation. We need to wean ourselves off petroleum”.

The Liberals think high gas prices are a good thing, which is why they proposed a 60% increase in gas prices.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, while he ignores the question and makes jokes, let us look at the reality.

Something that is even worse is that the minister has cut programs at the expense of helping poor Canadians. Low income families simply do not have the means or the upfront cash to retrofit their homes, but instead of providing support to the EnerGuide program for low income households, the minister got rid of the program altogether and $100 million annually was taken away from low income Canadians.

When will the government stop spending money on misleading advertising for its ecofraud? When will it reinstate the EnerGuide program for low income families and do something more than just cut and spin?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the program the Liberals had was a program where most of the money actually did not go to consumers.

We have replaced that program with a program where the money goes to consumers. We are helping low income consumers by putting more money in their pockets, in the same way as the GST cut, the workers' income tax benefit and the fact that we have lifted so many Canadians off the income tax rolls.

Today I received indication from Statistics Canada that Canada today has the lowest unemployment rate in 33 years. This is a new announcement, thanks to the strong economic growth under the government, helping all Canadians, including low income Canadians.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, in response to the recent incident at a resort in Mexico involving a Canadian citizen, the member for Vancouver South has made repeated claims that the United States has a special arrangement with Mexico. He claims that Americans can send in police investigators any time a U.S. citizen is involved.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs clarify if this is true and explain what Canada's arrangement is with Mexico?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canada and the U.S.A. have a mutual legal assistance treaty with Mexico which provides for the assistance of one country to another in obtaining evidence for the investigation of crimes when requested.

However, assistance must be requested. Canada, like the U.S., can respond to a request for assistance from Mexico in a criminal investigation under that treaty but both the U.S. and Canada require a request.

We are prepared to work with the Mexicans on this and on any other file involving Canadians and we have told them so.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the national inventory on greenhouse gas emissions, Canada ranks with Belarus for living up to its obligations for reporting to the United Nations.

In an e-mail I just received this morning, the UN confirms, “We have not received the submission of Canada's 2007 inventory due on April 15”.

Australia and the U.S., the Prime Minister's role models, have sent in their reports.

How many more international embarrassments will we need to suffer under the Prime Minister? Why has the government not lived up to its obligations to the UN and sent in this report?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the member is correct to the extent that Canada is a little bit embarrassed on the world scene because of the record of 13 years of inaction on the environment and the fact that we had to see greenhouse gases rise to 35% or more above our Kyoto targets under the Liberals, notwithstanding the fact that they entered into a treaty saying that we would reduce them by 5%.

Our government is changing that. We have brought forward a plan that, for the first time in Canadian history, will result in mandatory standards and actual reductions in greenhouse gases. The Liberals were big on reports and international agreements. We are big on actually delivering results to improve the health and environment of Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, is this not interesting? The international agreement that I am talking about is the one a Conservative government signed in 1992. On accountability on international agreements, its own government signed it.

Where is the report? I have information that the report is ready but that it is being sat on by the government, not by the public servants who prepared it. Why is the government hiding this report? Why is it not coming clean with Canadians on where we are with greenhouse gas emissions? Why will the minister not tell us the truth and come clean? Where is this--

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The hon. government House leader.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I will tell the House where we are going with greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions are doing down, and that is our policy and our plan. It is the first time a government has ever brought forward a plan but obviously that will not be reflected in the disclosure because it is a new plan. Unfortunately, the disclosure will still reflect the unfortunate track record of a previous Liberal government that did absolutely nothing on the environment.

When they see disclosure in the future, they will see things moving in the right direction and they will see greenhouse gases going down.

Passport CanadaOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, record numbers of calls are coming into my Vancouver office from constituents having to cancel, sometimes at great expense, business trips and family reunions abroad after waiting months in vain for their passports.

Another story in the Vancouver Sun today points out that repeated attempts to contact the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Public Safety and the CEO of Passport Canada to explain this mess have led to no comment.

Who is in charge over there? Who is responsible for this bungling? Will someone please fix it?

Passport CanadaOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, through several measures, Passport Canada is now able to output 20,000 passports per day, an increase of 40% over last fall's capacity. However, Canadians continue to apply for passports at an unprecedented rate, at about 18,000 applications per day.

Passport Canada is now able to cope with the demand and address its backlog. The situation is improving and, if the current demand continues, most of the service channels will be normal by the end of the summer.

Passport CanadaOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, 13 months and the Conservatives are still not getting the job done.

On February 13, the foreign affairs minister told this House that 500 new passport employees had been hired. Two months later, he admitted that they still had not actually been put on the job. Here we are three months later and they are not getting the job done.

Worse than the minister's incompetence is the fact that he does not think he needs to be accountable for this mess. When will the minister--

Passport CanadaOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.